Friday, April 11, 2014

How to urbanize Marinwood-Lucas Valley one bite at a time

""Question: "How do you eat an elephant?"

Answer: " One bite at a time ".

The Board of Supervisors are beginning to urbanize Marinwood-Lucas Valley by a series of small bites too.   It has already begun. 

Here is how they may "eat the elephant":

Stage One: (completed 2003-2010)
The previous private developer of Marinwood Plaza succeeded in getting the community to agree to a private housing development with 20% affordable housing with pictures of beautiful Mediterranean stylized plaza that would feature a fountain and a gathering spot reminiscent of a European city.  The nostalgic view of village life of a bygone era is appealing to anyone.  GOAL:  Change zoning designation to HOD (Housing Overlay District). Secure state and federal grant money by creating a Priority Development Zone for Marinwood.

Stage Two:  Secure property from Hoytt development. (Bridge Housing enters pre-sale agreement in 2012) Make them a deal they cannot refuse. Attract a Farmer's market and a neighborhood market with unusually attractive terms guaranteed with government funding and programs. .Bring in an affordable housing developer with government money to develop a plan.  Assemble of group of supporters and call them "neighborhood advisors" to create the illusion that the public supports the new development.  Meet privately, so controversial elements of the plan do not leak to the public to avoid opposition..

Stage Three:  Announce that the project will move forward (in progress) with the "full support" of the community by gathering consensus among "neighborhood advisors".  Keep the window of "public scrutiny" to a minimum to overwhelm any potential opposition.   Hide the full economic impact on the taxpayers to pay for new schools, police, fire, water, sewage and water infrastructure. Streamlined CEQA and design regulation will allow problems to go ahead unnoticed.

Stage Four:  Identify additional building sites(completed 2013) and zone them for multifamily housing. Keep full plan from public view as long as possible by holding meeting at obscure times, last minute agendas and hidden in other routine business.  Change single family zoning to multifamily zoning. Tighten restriction on single family zoning in Priority Development Area to discourage "wasteful" single family construction. (in progress)  Planning commissioner Erica Erickson says that such zoning changes are necessary to combat segregation. 

Stage Five:  Expand Priority Development Area (PDAs will be replaced by SB-1 eminent domain law in 2014 if passed) to adjoining neighborhoods.Expand multifamily housing and bus lines to make neighborhoods accessible to major transportation arteries.  New population of renters will change the voting base to make increases in government services and taxes from property owners easier further discouraging single family home ownership.

Stage Six:  A better, high density community (Marinwood City), or failed social experiment that kills a quiet suburban community living in the natural splendor of Lucas Valley?

What is the future YOU want?  Are you willing to learn more about the Housing Element? Are you willing to stand up for the community?   Get active.  Help us spread the word to our neighbors.  Join our growing movement to Save Marinwood-Lucas Valley.

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